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TMP's Younie decides on Fort Hays

5/8/2014

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Thomas More Prep-Marian senior Samantha Younie got her start in track and field as a fifth grader when she joined the Hays Striders Track Club. Her main event eventually became the triple jump -- although it certainly didn't come naturally -- and it took some dedication from her coach, Ty Haas, to get her to see her potential.

"It took me a month to learn," Younie said. "I was really bad. Thankfully, Ty had the patience to work with me because it helped."

Now everything is looking to come full circle for Younie and Haas, as the two will be reunited at Fort Hays State University. On Wednesday at TMP, in front of her friends and family, Younie signed her National Letter of Intent to compete in track for FHSU next season.

Haas is the Tigers' jumping coach and helped make Younie's decision to go to FHSU that much easier.

"He actually taught me how to triple jump, so being able to be coached by him again was a one-time thing," Younie said. "I know he knows a lot about triple jump so I'm excited to see how he can change my jump and get me to improve and do different things."

Younie also runs as part of the TMP track and field team, competing in the 100-meter dash, 400-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay. But at FHSU she will only compete in the triple jump, which is fine with her, as she admittedly hates running.

Although, TMP's best 400-meter relay time this season -- 52.16 seconds -- is the third fastest time in the area for girls, behind only Russell (51.42) and Atwood (51.97). And Younie's season-best triple jump distance of 34-1.75 is also among the area's best.

The Monarchs only have 13 girls out for track, but led by Younie still have high individual hopes this season. TMP has two meets remaining before the MCL meet in Phillipsburg on May 15. Then it's off to regionals on May 23, also in Phillipsburg. Younie will be looking to qualify for state a third consecutive season.

"I'm really nervous for regionals ... my triple jump coach reminds me every day that I need to hit a big jump. I'm thinking about it constantly," Younie said. "Hopefully, if we can push ourselves at regionals and during practice and at other meets it will pay off in the end."

Younie had interest from other smaller schools for track, but none she really had any interest in attending.

Ultimately her decision came down to FHSU and Kansas State University, although she wasn't going to have the opportunity to compete in track at K-State.

And it was her desire to still jump that led to her becoming a Tiger.

"I realized I wouldn't have the opportunity to do track again if I wouldn't take it," Younie said. "I'm going into elementary education and they have a really good department there. Either way I would be set, school wise. And the tuition is really nice and affordable. Also, I'd be able to say in shape if I did track, too.

"So I decided to go to Fort Hays."